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Don't Drink It!

"So this guy walks into a bar and the dog goes, 'Don't drink it!!!'" Laughter ensues. Two male voices, both friendly, both deep, nearly indistinguishable, really, except that they talk back and forth in a sort of addled conversation. The voice which just spoke is chuckling whole-heartedly. The other voice is laughing, but not with the same intent.

"What the -beep- are you talking about? Oh, -beep- I forgot about the -beep- -ing censors." More chuckling, from both. An inside joke, it seems.

The first: "You're going to get us in trouble again."

The second: "We've already been moved back to the deadest hour of the night, what else can they do to us? It's not like anyone's out there listening, and just to prove my point, I'm going to make our audience an offer. I'll give away my own mother to the first caller who can tell me today's date."

Chuckle, chuckle.

First voice: "Well, if anyone was listening, they're not now. And they certainly won't call."

Second: "Well, it was worth a shot. You've seen my mother, can you blame me?"

Chuckle, chuckle, snort.

First: "Snort? Did you just snort? Are we allowed to do that on the air? You probably just made some poor censor lose his job, slipping that little bit of bodily noise into our broadcast. They've probably already sacked the guy. See, here come the guys with the guns right now. They've offered him a cigarette, but he declines. What a poor, brave man. The blindfold...."

A loud pop resounds from the radio, as of metal on powder, and metal on bone, or perhaps of flesh on sandwich-size handi plastic lunch baggies, industrial strength and onion proof. Outright laughter follows; the tears can practically be heard, falling from smiling eyes, red-rimmed from the hour, the smoke, and multiple cups of coffee, labeled "resurrection strength."

"That'll teach him to defy the FCC." The second voice fades again into chuckling. The force of the intent shielded behind the laughter is compelling: this is funny, if you are listening, you are amused, you love it, in fact, and as long as we keep chuckling, you will believe that this is quality humor, and you will listen. You can share in our jokes, you can share in our joy, and you can be happy along with not only us, but with all of our listeners as well. You're part of the club, and everyone in the club is happy.

First voice of nighttime broadcast speaking: "It's a shame all of you out there couldn't see that. There's a hole in his chest this big. Oh, sorry, you can't see that either."

Vocalized amusement, shipped over the waves in two tones, for the auditory appreciation of listeners everywhere.

Second voice: "It's about time for station identification. And as soon as I figure out who the -beep- we are and where the -beep- we're sitting, I'll be sure to let you know. On second thought, even if I knew what was going on, I don't give a flying -beep- about the rest of you, so just go beep- off. Don't you have something better to do? I mean, seriously, folks, the only planet on the people who are more pitiful than the two of us are all of you out there who are listening to us."

Throat vibrations from the one of primary vocalization: "Speak for yourself. I'm getting paid for this. There are a lot of things more pitiful than that."

Secondary vocalizer: "Yeah, like your mom."

"That's not funny, my mom's dead."

"Just because she didn't move when I was in bed with her last night doesn't mean she's dead."

"What's the difference?"

Yet another barrage of soothing mellow rumbling.

Second speaks forth: "Seriously, folks, you're listening to Ron and John late, late, way-too f -eep- ing early show."

Firstmeister: "Nice! You almost got past the censors that time."

"Did I?"

"Yeah! I distinctly heard an f."

"When?"

"When you said -beep-. It sounded like 'feep' instead."

"Really? Cool! It's all part of the technique. You starting talking about your mom, someone's mom, any mom will do, really, and then you slip in a feep when they're not paying attention. So, do I get a point for that one?"

First: "Let's consult the judges. Judges? Oh, yeah, I forgot. The censors shot the judges last week, when they said that it was okay to say 'suck' on the air."

Secondling: "No, no, it wasn't because they said suck. It was the context."

"Oh, yeah, the contest...What contest?"

"No, context...the words surrounding the particular word 'suck' which gave it that special meaning."

First, in his deepest, fakest, English professor voice, the presence of the wooden pipe clenched between his lips brought to life by the perfect sound: "So, John, please do tell me to which words in particular do you refer?"

Second, echoing the scholarly tone: "Well, sir, the phrases in particular to which I refer are threefold, being as follows: 'last night,' 'the censor's mom,' and the judge's 'big, hairy, whang.'"

Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle.

First, responds: "Oh...." The professor's pipe trembles, slips, is caught and remains firmly clenched. "Oh, I see." Trembling lips split into a grin and the pipe tumbles to the floor, forgotten.

Chuckle, chuckle, snort.

First: "He snorts again! One more, and you're off the air. Either that, or you lose two of your points, your choice."

Second: "Ouch, that's serious. I think I'm going to have to go with... off the air. Not! Two points, if it happens again; fair is fair. But it's still not as bad as that joke of yours."

"Which one?"

"Any of them."

Chuckles all around.

Second-not-first: "That stupid one about the dog drinking the bar with the guy, or whatever. The one you've been telling every five minutes all night, and it still doesn't make any sense."

First: "It's not funny because you've got it all wrong. This guy walks into a bar with a dog, and the bartender goes, 'Don't drink it!'" Loud, prolonged laughter ensues, though from only one of the soothing voices. The second voice can be heard muttering in the background.

Second: "Stupid dog and bar ... 'Don't drink it!' my butt. Where the -beep- do you get that anyway?"

Firstly-head: "It's a classic. I heard it years ago and I just remembered it tonight, well, almost. It was so funny I laughed forever. I've been trying to get it right. You'll see, when I get it, you'll be in tears."

"I'm nearly crying already."

"Ha, ha. Really, it's really really funny. The only other time I laughed so hard was when I met your last date. Man, was she ugly!"

"She was not ugly!"

"No, you're right. She would have made a very attractive moray eel."

Laughter again, both sides.

Second states: "You'd better give me the point for that feep before I forget."

"Right. Feeping point it is! Let me rev up the machine, and here goes!"

Gentle drumroll gradually increasing intensity into a distinctly odd little bing-ding-ring-a ling. Laughter, of the sort that implies a running gag of some sort, though unfamiliar and familiar listeners alike may have no feeping clue as to its origins, and there are days when the voices themselves are about as sure about the point system as some listeners are about the actual existence of form behind the voices. When pipes form and fade from existence as the need for them arises and falls, is it any wonder that the belief could form that the bodies oriented with the voices might also be created and in reality be only as solid as those flighty pipes?

First feepingly facilitates: "There you go, you got your point. Happy?"

"Never been happier."

"Good."

"Great."

"Fine."

"Terrific."

First: "Look, we're not playing free associations here! What do I look like, your shrink?"

"No, you look more like my shrink's dog, but Sparky has better breath."

Chuckles, etc.

"Yeah, well, Sparky's got one up on you, too."

"What's that?"

"At least Sparky's learned to accept that fact that his mother sleeps around with the neighborhood mongrels."

More of the deep voices, welcoming listeners, inviting them to share.

The Sec.: "Tsk tsk tsk. The rejected are always so bitter."

"That's a cheap shot."

"The truth always hurts, doesn't it?"

The smiling voice of the first speaker now fills the air: "For any of you who might have just tuned in, get a life! You've been wasting your time listening to Ron and John's late night laxative. Ribbed, for her pleasure. And speaking of ribs, any of you listeners out there who are paying attention should stop in for a bite at Leroy's ribs later today. I've never been there myself, but they're paying me thirty bucks to mention them on the air, so it would be the least you could do to get some food from them."

Second: "It doesn't matter if you don't like ribs. Just go there and spend some money. It's the American way. Isn't it beautiful?"

A dramatic sniff can faintly be heard over the general vocalized amusement. One might actually believe a soul, somewhere, had been touched.

Primero: "And for all of you just tuning in, I've got a joke I want to share with you. Tell me if you've heard this one before...oh, wait, you can't! I love this job!"

"Oh, no, here he goes again..."

"A dog walks into a bar, and this guy next to the bartender takes a drink because he says 'Don't say it!!!!' No, that's not quite it. Wait.... A guy buys a dog a drink, but the bartender says, 'Don't drink it!!!!' Or maybe the bartender walks into the bar to see a guy with a dog, and he screams, 'Don't drink it!!!!' Hmm..."

Segundo: "Are you done yet?"

"I've almost got it... it's coming back to me. Wait.... there's a dog, and there's a bartender, or maybe just a bar and a guy and no dog, but no, there's got to be the dog, which is why he's not supposed to drink something, or does the dog bet the bartender that the guy will drink a beer, and the bartender's trying to stop him, before he loses his bar in a bet? Well, anyway, the bartender says, 'Don't drink it!!!!' It's so funny!"

One sided laughter can be heard for miles around.

Second hand man: "Whatever it was, you sure as -beep-l drank it, because that's the only reason I can think of that you'd be going on like this. If anyone out there knows how this joke goes, please, please call in and tell us, before one of us goes postal. Help. If there is a God, he will end this misery, because I can't take it much longer."

First: "I know that's the punch line; 'Don't drink it!!!!' I just can't remember the rest of it."

Second, growling, no longer quite so friendly and inviting, on the surface, though down below the voice flows as smoothly and positively as ever. "A guy with a bar smacks a dog to keep it from biting a bartender, and a glass of beer falls from the sky and lands on the ground and the dog-tender scares the bar-drink into shouting and as the dogbar walks into a wall the tenderwalking bar or a drink rears up and shouts, 'Don't drink it!!!!' and the stupid -beep-ing joke comes to an end once and for all as the tender dog bites the joking guy where the sun don't shine to get him to shut up once and for all!"

Silence. Eerie, almost. Just a few seconds, but in contrast the chuckling, muttering banter or moms and firsts and seconds, the silence leaves so much to the imagination. With no sound to provide the images, anything could be occurring. Has Señor Second finally gone postal on Frere First? Have the censors been incensed by one too many scented invectives? Has perhaps the portion of the world containing the radio station been mysteriously vaporized, or transported into another dimension? Or is it something stranger, something so far beyond comprehension that the mind boggles at the mere thought of such an unlikely occurrence, one which makes the chances of alien intelligence in the universe seem like a sure bet in comparison? Amazingly, it seems to be so...

First: "That's it! That's the joke! You knew it all along! I can't believe it!"

Second: "What?"

First: "That was the joke! Word for word! Just like I heard it two years ago! I can't feeping believe it! You want to know how shocked I am? I just said 'feeping'! I just edited myself, I'm so -beep-beep- shocked! How the -beep- did you know the -beep-ing joke?"

Second: "Are you serious?"

First: "No."

-click-

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